Jack Hillen scored his first goal for the Nashville Predators on a night when the status of the defense group seemed uncertain, but that little bit of offense was not near enough.
Detroit’s Valtteri Filppula had two goals and an assist as the Predators dropped their fourth straight — the last three in regulation — 4-1 to the Red Wings on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.
Nashville dressed seven defensemen, including top prospect Roman Josi who was recalled on Friday, but finished with just six. Francis Bouillon played just over eight minutes before he was sidelined with a lower body injury.
Hillen, who has appeared in all but two games as a part of the third defense pair, got the Predators’ lone goal with 14:26 remaining in the contest. By that time, the Red Wings already had scored their four — one in the first, two in the second and one earlier in the third.
Josi, a second-round pick in 2008, logged 12:20 of ice time and registered one shot on goal. With 2:14 to play he attempted to shot that Detroit’s Patrick Eaves attempted to block. The puck hit Eaves in the right ear hole of his helmet and the 27-year-old forward was taken from the ice on a stretcher.
In the first meeting of the season between the Central Division rivals, Detroit outshot Nashville 37-19 and won its fifth straight. It marked the second time this season the Red Wings have won at least five in a row.
With the victory the Red Wings (14-7-1) moved to the top the division. The Predators (10-8-4) were stuck in fourth, five points back.
Nashville remains on the road for its next three contests — Monday at Edmonton, Tuesday at Calgary and Thursday at Vancouver.